In last week's article I discussed "The Relocation Blues," so concerns about moving to a new job and losing money on the sale of a home. This week we continue our series of discussions with leaders of plastics and polymer technology companies who are making good things happen in our industry. I am considering calling this series "100 points of light", after I found out "1000 points of light" was taken. Plus, I'll probably never write 1000 blogs.
I sat down with Blake Lindsey a few weeks ago. He is the president of DaniMer Scientific. DaniMer develops bioplastics for its customers, who are typically converters, packagers, and processors of single-use items such as those in the foodservice industry.
The year 2011 has not been a straight line up for DaniMer. Business flattened out a bit after a strong start, but Q4 is looking strong and Lindsey is excited about 2012. "Everyone is aware of the industry buzz around green, sustainable, and biodegradable materials", he said, "but where we are really finding acceptance is where we can make our materials to be a 'drop in' for our customers," so a one-for-one replacement of an established material with little or no need for new machinery or processing changes.
Lindsey is also very optimistic about DaniMer's new line of Renewable Hot Melt Adhesives (RHMAs). Designed to be a drop-in replacement for most HMAs, they are made from renewable resources and are compostable. "There are no commercialized renewable materials in the HMA space right now," he said.
He noted DaniMer's sister company Meredian Inc. is currently expanding an existing plant in Bainbridge, GA that will produce 30 million pounds per year of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) bio-based resins; this expansion will be followed immediately by another expansion, bringing total PHA production to 230 million lbs. at the Meredian site in Bainbridge, GA within the next 36 months. Additional global expansion is planned for both DaniMer and Meredian to best meet their customers' needs.
Going forward, the challenge for the industry, and one that DaniMer is meeting head-on, is to continue to innovate and drive the cost of bioplastics down to where they are competitive with their petroleum-based counterparts. "There are areas already where folks are seeing that they really don't have to pay a premium for being environmentally responsible. Packaging films and single-use foodservice articles are two good examples," noted Lindsey.
DaniMer and Meredian's success will also mean jobs. The companies plan to double their employment over the next 18-24 months.
I want to thank Blake for his time, and for sharing more good news for our industry. If you would like to see good news about your company in a future blog, please contact me. Someday you could tell your grandchildren you were one of the famous 100 points of light.
About the author: Paul Sturgeon is business manager with KLA Industries based in Cincinnati, OH, an executive search firm specializing in plastics and polymer technology. If you have a topic you'd like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for his blog, e-mail Paul at mailto:[email protected].